Navajo Hogan & The Loo With The View!
Trip Start Dec 09, 2009
30Trip End Dec 10, 2010
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Where I stayed
So we have come full circle in terms of the olden day USA.
We've driven from Arizona just over the border into Utah and into Monument Valley.
We stopped for dinner at a little roadside cafe in a town called Kayenta – which is essentially where the Navajo and native American’s now live. There are few white people around here!
The Valley visitor’s centre was about 30mins from this small town and where we met Tony our Navajo guide. We jumped off the bus and straight onto the back of a Chevvy pick up converted into a people carrier with yellow school bus seats and a clear Perspex surround
Tony was our driver as we entered the Valley itself. Now our journey was slight unusual as there was still around a foot of snow on the ground and the air was freezing.
So not only did our trip take us deep into the rockey dessert it also took us deep into the snow.
We drove around the Navajo nation for three hours stopping every so often to get out and take some photos of the rocks and Buttes, Tony giving a running commentary all the while.
We lay on the rocks and listened to Tony playing the traditional Navajo flute & stared at the rock carvings and the hole in ceiling of the rock, aptly named "The Suns Eye"!
As the sun began to slowly sink over the nearby hills and rocks we headed back to the Hogan. The traditional Navajo house and our resting place for that evening.
When we arrived the ladies had the stove in the centre of the Hogan blazing and dinner of Navajo taco’s almost ready
We were all shivering as we stumbled inside and took our coats off but after a quick Hot cocoa and some dinner we had soon warmed up.
The dinner was very tasty and completely different from last nights steak.
Once we’d all finished our fried corn dough and honey for pudding we cleared the tables outside and lay out our tarps and sleeping bags by the fire.
Tony sat with us in the Hogan telling stories, answering questions and banging his skin drum while singing traditional songs. Very soothing!
We all suitably fell asleep in the heat and didn’t wake up until 3:00am when the fire had died out.
Now being that it was -10oC outside it didn’t take long before the temperature in our little mud house dropped also.
It was a joint cold that woke everybody and we needed to re-stoke the fire pronto. By 4:00am & with the help of a bottle of lighter fluid we had all warmed up again and nodded off for another two hours.
The next morning we were up before sunrise. We had to leave and be on the road by 8:30am and still had a lot to pack and see before leaving.
Now one thing I have to mention about the Hogan settlement we had spent the night is the Toilet.
We had been pre-warned about this before our visit but it does need further explanation.
The toilet was about 30metres from the Hogan and on the edge of the hill. It was a solitary wooden hut, with no door. It faced away from the Hogan’s out into the Valley.
The toilet itself was some wood with hole in it – a lot like the old outhouses in the backyard!
Although you had to trudge through the snow to reach it and you could only go alone. The view from pot was truely one of the best I think I will ever experience! Thank god the rattlesnakes were hibernating and the Coyote’s were off keeping warm somewhere, other wiser my modesty could have been severly destroyed!!
The next morning and with one final visit to the “Loo with the View” we were ready to go.
We had a few more things to discover before we left the Valley and to do it we had to squeeze 9 people into a 7 seater car and drive. As the Perspex van from yesterday had frozen overnight.
We set off into the slowly enlightened desert and visited one of the oldest known Hogan’s still standing. It was used to bury it’s Lady owner over 97 years ago and she was in her nineties when she died!
We drove to see the spots where various films were shot; Will Smiths – Wild Wild West, Back to the Future III and several John Wayne films!
It took about another hour before we made it back to the Hotel and visitors centre where we could board the trusty TrekAm bus.
We were all very tired after our hot & freezing cold night in the Hogan so a lot of sleep was called for in the van on our drive out of the valley and towards The Grand Canyon.